Good Grief

IMG_3343I remember the first time that I wanted to be a writer.  I was in the third grade.  The assignment was to write a story about a tin can.  I titled it, “The Diary of a Tin Can.”  I even made drawings to correspond with the tin can’s adventures.  I bundled it all in a neat little mini book and presented it to my mom to read before I turned it in to my teacher.

She was so excited about my little story.  She kept telling me how much she loved it.  How creative I was.  What an imagination you have!  Her eyes were so bright and her words so encouraging.  I basked in the glow.  I was onto something.

I remember the first time that I wanted to stop writing.  I was 15.  My mom had read my diary.  Oh the horror!  She stood with this look of absolute disgust and outrage on her face.  Disappointment.  Hurt.  She held my diary in her hand.  My mind reeling.  Dear God, what had I written?  It was so personal.  I felt so exposed, so betrayed.  I was angry at her.  Whatever I wrote, she deserved it.  She shouldn’t have read it.  It’s her own fault if she was mad, not mine.  Why did she do that to me?  She didn’t have my permission.

I was never the same.  I never felt safe to express myself in the same way again.  I was forever muted, edited, guarded, dampened.

My mother passed away in July.  I have been slowly, methodically cleaning out her room, packing up her things.  She didn’t have much.  The sum total of her 67 years on this earth fit neatly and cleanly in the bonus room above our garage.  Her room.  Everything in its place.  Nothing in excess.  Except cookbooks and coloring books and puzzles and markers and handwritten recipes.  All of this from a woman who hardly cooked.  Boxes and boxes of cookbooks.  At least a hundred handwritten recipes.  That she never made.

And in her room, I found that story I wrote in the third grade about a tin can.


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9 Responses to Good Grief

  1. 2ndhalfolife says:

    Oh, this story made me cry. Hmmm, what did this mean. So many layers here! Funny, the story that made you want to write, she kept. Interesting indeed. Obvious love that she kept it… maybe looking through journals hoping to capture something in them of her (good) that you expressed in the wonderful little story you wrote that she kept. We all as parents hope to be thought of as special creatures to our children, although maybe this never really happens until it’s too late for most of us. But you should understand it now, that maybe you were that for her: a special star with a gift. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. me says:

    An invasion of your diary is hurtful … plenty of parents do it … I did it once, lol … but it saved my daughters life, so I have no regrets. … The fact your Mama kept your story … well thats just lovely. Mamas seem to keep the strangest most priceless things ay. Arohamai for the loss of your Mama xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wgr56 says:

    Man, it’s a hard thing to wrestle with painful memories about someone you love who is now gone. I’ve been through some of the same battles myself, and as a writer, sometimes I’ve felt like it was a battle I couldn’t win. But you’ve made a good job of expressing your feelings here, and it’s especially poignant that you’ve left it on a good note. I’m sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

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